Whispering good night

The universe has a way of timing things just right. Just days ago I was sad about summer ending, about the closing of this magical time with my children, these three months dotted with highlights and plenty of tiny moments in between.

And then they became monsters. Oh, wow, is it time for school. Something just flipped this past weekend and they are cranky and exhausted and thoroughly sick of each other’s – and my – company. Suddenly the return to school, routines, and some time when they are not around sounds just lovely.

So, in short, it’s been a long couple of days. And yet all of that fell away instantly tonight when I tiptoed into their bedrooms to kiss them goodnight. Whit in sleep till has the scent of baby-toddler wafting off of him, that freshly-bathed smell, something from the past drifting up to tug me back to those long-ago days when I rocked babies in that very same room.

I whispered to them both tonight, into the curled, flushed-ivory shells of their ears, about how sorry I am about my short temper these days, about how I regret the times I’ve snapped, about how I understand that they too sense change hanging around the edges of these days and that that makes them anxious. I thanked them for all of their energy and enthusiasm this summer, for their patience and their adventurous spirits that took us so many places, near and far, together. I pressed my lips to their cheeks, feeling the peachfuzz of their skin, closing my eyes to try, once again, to freeze time.

And then I murmured, to each of my children in turn, of how I loved them, always, always, no matter what. Of how I know them and I honor them and I witness them and I love them. I tried, as I do often, to pour my love into their sleeping selves, to fill them with it so there’s less room for doubt and fear. I want to erect armor around their hearts so that they will always know that someone – maybe just this small person, but someone – loves them. I wish I could infuse their very bloodstreams with my love, so that they will never, for a single second, doubt that they are worthy, known, seen, loved.

And yes, I realize, this is what I want for myself too.

15 thoughts on “Whispering good night”

  1. “…so that they will never, for a single second, doubt that they are worthy, known, seen, loved.”

    And that is the only thing, indeed everything, they need.

  2. Mmmm, hmmm. I do too. And I assure you they will know. I am certain of it!

    I also go into my children at night when they are sleeping and talk to them about love and apologize for the day’s challenges. It helps me sleep better.

  3. If I wasn’t terrified that I’d wake them up and we’d have to do the bedtime routine all over again… I’d do that too.
    I’ve wanted to. To sit and stroke their hair and smell their sleepy sweetness. One day I’ll be able to without rousing WWIII πŸ™‚

  4. “I want to erect armor around their hearts so that they will always know that someone – maybe just this small person, but someone – loves them”

    I know this feeling all too well.

    My daughter starts her second year of pre-school very soon. I’m not sure how my wife feels about that. I think next summer, the one before Kindergarten, is going to be the sad one.

    I still rock our 18 month old to sleep because I have “the touch”. It took 40 minutes to get him to sleep last night. My legs ache, and yet I know I’ll miss rocking him to sleep (sometime in the future, of course).


  5. “Infusing love into their bloodstreams.” What a lovely image, and idea. And whispering as they sleep, or even willing them to absorb, somehow, the immensity of our support for them – always – so that it is absorbed into their very bodies, I get that to. I practiced it. I still do (shhhh, don’t tell). And I think it works.

  6. I whisper in their ears how much I love them too. Secretly I hope to provide a subliminal message that always sticks for those times when I have to be the stern/strict parent, for those difficult years. We’ll see.

  7. I used to do this with my kids when they were little, too. Especially after hard days. So far, I’ve been able to refrain from climbing up a ladder into their new homes like the mom in the book, “I’ll love you forever” — a book I still can’t get through without tears.

  8. I say I love you to my daughter all day at random times. Just saying it and hearing her say “I love you too Momma” is one of the best part of my day.

  9. Your children glow from within with the fact of your love for them. (I’ve seen them glowing, and it’s beautiful.) Well-loved kids carry this inside-armor you’ve given them everywhere they go…

    That’s a big old insight in the last line there. Because yes, you are right… that is what we need in order to be their oxygen tanks.

  10. Lovely, lovely images. Thank you. What you write so resonates with my heart. Thank you for your words. What a beautiful writer you are. Lisa

  11. Oh I do that every night too. Whisper in their ears hoping that my words seep into their heads and bodies and souls. And I lay my head on their heads and LOVE them in their silence. Such tender moments those are. Ones that I saw more often in the daytime hours!

    Good luck with the start of school… it’s anxious times for us here for sure!

  12. That brought tears to my eyes. Oh, how I wish I could call up that particular brand of full-heart love during the frenetic moments of the day, when they’re driving me batty, just as easily as it washes over me when I watch them sleep. Here’s hoping those whispered sleep words take firm root in our children.

  13. Thank you for the late night tears I shed while reading your beautiful words . . . for allowing me to read in your words, all the thoughts I have in my mind that I can never seem to put down so eloquently . . . you are tremendously gifted πŸ™‚

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